Land Rover Defender SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2
High running costs are likely to see some buyers opt for the plug-in hybrid
When it first launched, Defender buyers were able to choose between diesel and petrol engines, some of which had mild-hybrid assistance. Sadly, none of them provide especially low running costs but in mid-2021 a plug-in hybrid P400e version arrived that's more efficient.
For the most part, Land Rover clearly prioritised performance, versatility and rugged looks over fuel-efficiency - just as they did with the original. Even the most economical diesel version of the new Defender just manages to tip over 30mpg, while (WLTP) CO2 figures north of 230g/km mean company-car drivers will face a hefty Benefit-in-Kind bill.
Unlike the original Landie, which had the same commercial status as a van or pickup, the new standard versions of the Defender 90 and 110 are classed as private vehicles, with the van-like 90 and 110 Hard Top the only versions to be classed as commercial vehicles. A plug-in hybrid is now available to appeal to company-car drivers, and at the other end of the spectrum, there's also a range-topping V8 model for anyone who wants the ultimate performance, regardless of cost.
Land Rover Defender MPG & CO2
The Defender was launched with two diesel 'Ingenium' 2.0-litre turbo engines badged D200 and D240, returning up to 32.2mpg in the 90 and 31.7mpg in the Defender 110. CO2 emissions span from 230-253g/km (WLTP).
These have been replaced for 2021, with a new 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engine boasting mild-hybrid tech. The D200 version of this engine can manage around 32mpg, a figure which is closely matched by the more powerful D250 and D300 models. These engines emit from 230 to 250g/km of CO2, placing them firmly into the top BiK band for business drivers.
The 2.0-litre turbo petrol P300 can manage around 24mpg with emissions of over 260g/km, the same ballpark figures as the 3.0-litre P400 mild hybrid. Thanks to its 19.2kWh battery pack, the P400e plug-in hybrid can manage up to 27 miles on electricity alone, giving it official figures of up to 85.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 74-88g/km depending on its trim level and which wheels and tyres are fitted. This should make it the cheapest Defender to run by some margin and the only one that should be on company-car shopping lists. It also just qualifies for free entry into the London Congestion Charge zone, sneaking under the current threshold by 1g/km, but only in specifications which manage the lowest 74g/km emissions.
The battery can be charged at home using a 7.2kW wallbox, taking it from 0-80% in two hours. It will also be possible to use a 50kW rapid-charger (using the supplied cable), for an 80% charge in 30 minutes at compatible public charging points. It's a very different proposition to the flagship V8, which is likely to be a swansong for the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. It officially returns just 19.2mpg and emits 332g/km of CO2 - around the same fuel-efficiency as you'd expect from a highly strung supercar.
Insurance groups for pricey, complex SUVs tend to be a bit higher than for normal cars. That's certainly the case here, because even the entry-level D200 sits in group 31 out of 50, while the D240 First Edition sits in group 38. That's the same rating as the P300 petrol receives in SE trim, while the P400 X is in group 44.
Land Rover provides a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty with its new models, which matches BMW and Mercedes. It's not as generous as some brands, though; the Kia Sorento comes with a seven-year warranty as standard.
Land Rover offers servicing plans that can help spread the cost of maintenance, so they're worth exploring with the dealership. It's also worth noting that diesel engines require AdBlue top-ups every so often.